West TN Student Megan Ammons Wins Tennessee 2023 Poetry Out Loud Contest

From Tennessee Arts Commission –

2023 Tennessee Poetry Out Loud State Champion, Megan Ammons from Harding Academy of Memphis. (Photo/Jason Goldston)

NASHVILLE —The 2023 Tennessee Poetry Out Loud (POL) champion is Megan Ammons, a senior at Harding Academy of Memphis. The State competition was held on Saturday, March 4, at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville.  Megan is a student, children’s teacher, and dancer, who hopes to attend Lipscomb University in the fall and major in pre-medicine.

“It started as more of just an opportunity just to perform and to portray what I thought that I could.” said Megan Ammons, “I got to talk to people backstage and it was also a learning experience for me as well. To help me to grow into what I wanted to be on that stage today and it was a really beautiful thing.”

2023 Tennessee Poetry Out Loud 1st Runner Up, Charlotte Bollschweiler of Clayton-Bradley Academy in Maryville. (Photo/ Jason Goldston)

Saturday’s statewide competition featured 16 finalists from 16 schools across the state. Megan will receive awards from the Tennessee Arts Commission and the Poetry Foundation. As Tennessee’s POL state champion, Megan will participate in the semifinal rounds at the National Finals.  The top nine students from the semifinals will advance to the National Finals on May 10th in Washington, D.C.

“Poetry Out Loud is an amazing opportunity for all students to grow academically and professionally with peers from across the state,” said TN Arts Commission Chair Stephanie Conner. “We celebrate the efforts of each teacher and student who participated in POL this year.”

2023 Tennessee Poetry Out Loud 3rd Runner Up, Briana Fowlkes of Mount Pleasant High School, Mount Pleasant. (Photo/ Jason Goldston)

Charlotte Bollschweiler a junior from Clayton-Bradley Academy in Maryville is first runner-up. Bollschweiler will receive an award and her school will receive stipends for the purchase of poetry books and supplies. Madison Clanton from Cumberland County High School is the second runner-up and Briana Fowlkes from Mount Pleasant High School in Mount Pleasant is the third runner-up. They will also receive awards. Poetry Out Loud will award a total of $50,000 to students and schools at the National Finals, including a $20,000 award for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion.

2023 Tennessee Poetry Out Loud 2nd Runner Up, Madison Clanton of Cumberland County High School. (Photo/ Jason Goldston)

“Poetry Out Loud is an opportunity for Tennessee students to master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about literary works of art,” said Anne B. Pope, Executive Director, TN Arts Commission. “We wish Megan the best of luck in the national competition.”

The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, in partnership with the Tennessee Arts Commission and the Tennessee State Museum, presented POL 2023. The program seeks to foster the next generation of literary readers by capitalizing on the latest trends in poetry, recitation and performance, building on the resurgence of poetry as an oral art form.

From Left, 2023 Tennessee Poetry Out Loud Trophy Winners: Megan Ammons, Charlotte Bollschweiler, Madison Clanton, and Briana Fowlkes.